Elevating the Polo, with Simon Crompton

Elevating the Polo, with Simon Crompton

Simon Crompton looks forward to summer in our linen-silk waffle knit polo.

Warm weather is almost here (honest) and thoughts turn to summer staples - like the polo shirt. The example pictured, however, is no ordinary polo, and it’s worth briefly explaining why. 

The polo shirt has become so ubiquitous in its cheap, shapeless, mass-produced form, that it’s easy to think it can be nothing else. That it will always be made from a cheap cotton jersey, its role reduced to a vehicle for the company logo.

It was not always this way. Unlike the t-shirt, a polo shirt was originally an elegant and tailored item - still fine knitwear, just with shorter sleeves. Although invented for sport (tennis actually, rather than polo, but the latter name stuck) it was still made to a high standard, worn under a ribbed sweater with nicely pressed trousers, and covered by a ‘polo’ coat between games. 

So what makes the example shown here (on myself, trying to look as summery as possible) more akin to those old pieces of sportswear? 

Well first of all, it’s what they call ‘fully fashioned.’ This means that the seams are like those of a piece of knitwear, rather than a t-shirt. The parts are knitted together, rather than just sewn. It’s why the shoulder and collar look much more elegant. 

Second, every knitting detail has been added in the name of form through function. A knitted stand on the collar; long ribbing on the sleeves and body; a delicate curve to the collar itself. And that collar sits up nice and high on the neck. 

 

 

"The polo shirt has become so ubiquitous in its cheap, shapeless, mass-produced form, that it’s easy to think it can be nothing else."

Last, we should look at the material itself. This is a linen-silk mix: mostly linen (72%) but with a chunk of silk thrown in there as well, to give the linen body. Both fibres are naturally finer and dressier than cotton, and that shows. And it’s all knitted together in an airy ‘waffle’ style.

The result feels more like a shirt than a polo. It’s a fitting partner to sharply tailored linen trousers (again, as shown) and feels like we’re dressing up for the warmer months, rather than down. 

Being Drake’s, these polos are not in navy and cream, but a punchy blue, red, and a sort-of-beige. Perhaps we can call them elegant but sporty. Fine clothing that sneaks in under the radar.